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Baseball Bat Materials

based on 11 ratings
Author: Crystal Beran

Grade Level: 5th - 8th; Type: Physics

Objective:

To find out what materials will make a baseball travel the farthest.

The purpose of this experiment is to use baseball bats that are made out of a variety of materials to find out whether the material of the bat affects the distance that the ball can travel.

Research Questions:

  • What angles help a ball travel further?
  • Do stronger materials necessarily make objects travel further?
  • What materials are used in modern baseball bats?
  • What materials have been used in the past?
  • What types of materials have been developed recently that are used in sports equipment?

In the past, baseball bats were made out of wood. This material was useful because it was lightweight and strong, though baseball bats would often break when professional players hit the ball very hard. Now, bats are made out of lightweight metals, such as aluminum, which is both stronger and helps the batter make the ball travel further than wooden bats did. Engineers continue to develop materials that are used to make even stronger materials that can hit baseballs even further. An understanding of the properties of different materials can help engineers continue to develop better sports equipment.

Materials:

  • A baseball
  • An aluminum baseball bat
  • A wooden baseball bat (if you can find wooden bats of different types of wood, use as many different ones as are available)
  • A stick or piece of lumber (possibly more than one if you can find different woods)
  • A metal rod, such as a piece of rebar
  • A plastic tube or bat
  • A golf club
  • A tee that is used in tee-ball (this will eliminate the variable of the pitcher, which would invalidate the results of your experiment)
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves to help protect your hands
  • A tape measure

If you do not have sporting equipment of your own, you can borrow some from your school’s physical education department or a local sports team. 

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Go out to a large open space and put on the gloves and safety goggles.
  2. Place the ball on the tee.
  3. Hit the ball with one of the bats.
  4. Wait until the ball stops.
  5. Measure the distance that the ball travelled, using a tape measure.
  6. Record the material of the bat and the distance the ball travelled on a chart such as the one below.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 two more times with the same bat. Try to hit the ball with the same strength as you did the first time.
  8. Average the results for the first type of bat by adding the three distances and dividing by three.
  9. Record the average for the first type of bat on the chart.
  10. Repeat steps 2-9 for each type of bat you are using.

Trial

distance

average distance

1 (aluminum)

 

X

2 (aluminum)

 

X

3 (aluminum)

 

(aluminum 1 + aluminum 2+ aluminum 3) / 3=

4 (ash bat)

 

 

5 (ash bat)

 

 

6 (ash bat)

 

 

 

Terms/Concepts: Angle; Distance; Horizontal; Vertical; Force

References:

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